Hor­ton rues ‘ too soft’ ap­proach af­ter Sun shines

Townsville Bulletin - - SPORT - NICOLE JEF­FERY

A U S T R A L I A ’ S O l y m p i c cham­pion Mack Hor­ton be­rated him­self for be­ing “too soft’’ af­ter his archri­val, China’s Sun Yang, took his re­venge by claim­ing the world 400m freestyle ti­tle in Bu­dapest yes­ter­day.

Sun re­tained his world crown in 3min41.38sec, frac­tion­ally faster than Hor­ton’s win­ning time at last year’s Olympics, and then cel­e­brated as if he had won both gold medals.

Hor­ton claimed the sil­ver medal in 3min43.85sec, his first world cham­pi­onships medal in this event. But he vowed to make amends in his ap­proach to his other races this week.

“I was too soft at the start and as soon as I saw Craig ( Jack­son, his coach) we both agreed that that was the prob­lem,’’ he said.

“I think I needed to be a bit harder on my­self, but it’s the start of the ( Olympic) cy­cle, I can work on that. I’m def­i­nitely go­ing to be on now ( for the rest of the week).’’

Hor­ton, 21, is tack­ling the big­gest pro­gram of his in­ter­na­tional ca­reer in Bu­dapest, com­bin­ing the 200m, 400m, 800m and 1500m freestyle and he is par­tic­u­larly keen to chal­lenge the Olympic 1500m cham­pion Gre­go­rio Pal­trinieri in the long­est pool event.

He brushed off his de­feat at the hands of Sun, who he de­scribed as a drug cheat at last year’s Olympics, say­ing his slow time stung more than his plac­ing.

“I thought I could swim a lot faster tonight, I thought I was ca­pa­ble of more tonight, but it’s the start of the next cy­cle and this is what I have to work on and im­prove on for the next cou­ple of years to­wards Tokyo.’’

There is no love lost be­tween Hor­ton and Sun af­ter a series of in­ci­dents in Rio. It be­gan with an al­ter­ca­tion in the warm- up pool in Rio, where de­fend­ing cham­pion Sun tried to in­tim­i­date the younger Aus­tralian.

China’s Sun Yang.

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